The extraordinary history and traditions of the peoples of the continent of Africa have produced many proverbs … I especially like this one: Beware time, because it has the answers.
What struck me most in this edition’s Country Reports in South Africa is the optimism and ambition of tissue sector personnel set against a recognition that bridging the gap between what little growth there will be in the immediate future – and reaping the real potential growth which is waiting out there – is a long term, possibly a very long term project.
The potential is clear. With a population in excess of 1.1 billion people and growing, the African market is second only to Asia with 4.4 billion. A large population supplied by low production would usually mean positive forecasts and a rush to build mills. But Fisher International’s analysis tells us that continental Africa and South Africa itself have seen low growth in recent years, tending to flat-lining today.
South African’s tissue men and women are altogether more optimistic, as our reports show. Estimates of their various growth figures range up to 10%, even as they battle a struggling economy, widespread poverty, stifling exchange rates, rising energy costs, high labour costs, and the particular logistical problems associated with the geography of sub-Saharan Africa.
The reason for the imbalance of optimism is that tissue people on the front line have the skills to do something about it, uppermost among which are innovative talent, determination and passion.
China’s influence on ASEAN
China faces a high probability of being the next major power to face an economic collapse, Pirkko Petäjä says in her analysis in MarketIssues.
An ambitious rebalancing of China’s economic model is underway – from manufacturing for export underpinned by government investment in core industries, to boosting domestic consumption through a rapidly growing middle class with real spending power. That should be good news for tissue in China and across the huge ASEAN market? But it carries huge risks.